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William Langland

Who will bell the cat

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Necessity has no law.

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Who will bell the cat?

William Langland in The Vision of Piers PlowmanReport problemRelated quotes
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There smites nothing so sharp, nor smelleth so sour as shame.

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Piers Plowman The Prologue (B-Text)

In a somer sesun, whon softe was the sonn{.e},
I schop me into a shroud, as I a scheep wer{.e};
In habite as an hermite unholy of werk{.e}s
Wente I wyde in this world wondr{.e}s to her{.e};
Bote in a May{.e}s morwnynge on Malverne hull{.e}s
Me bifel a ferly, of fairie, me-thought{.e}.

I was wery, forwandr{.e}d, and went{.e} me to rest{.e}
Undur a brod banke bi a bourn{.e} sid{.e};
And as I lay and leon{.e}de and lok{.e}de on the watr{.e}s,
I slumbr{.e}de in a slepynge, hit swy{.e}d so muri{.e}.
Thenne gon I meeten a mervelous sweven,
That I was in a wilderness{.e}, wuste I never wher{.e};
And as I beheold into the est an heigh to the sonn{.e},
I sauh a tour on a toft, try{.e}lyche i-maket;
A deop dal{.e} bineoth{.e}, a dungun ther-inn{.e},
With deop dich and derk and dredful of sight{.e}.
A feir feld full of folk fond I ther bitwen{.e},
Of all{.e} maner of men, the mene and the rich{.e},
Worchinge and wandringe as the world asketh.

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 08

Thus yrobed in russet I romed aboute
Al a somer seson for to seke Dowel,
And frayned ful ofte of folk that I mette
If any wight wiste wher Dowel was at inne,
And what man he myghte be of many man I asked.
Was nevere wight as I wente that me wisse kouthe
Where this leode lenged, lasse ne moore -
Til it bifel on a Friday two freres I mette,
Maistres of the Menours, men of grete witte.
I hailsed hem hendely, as I hadde ylerned,
And preide hem, pur churite, er thei passed ferther,
If they knewe any contree or costes [aboute]
Where that Dowel dwelieth - 'Dooth me to witene;
For [ye] be men of this moolde that moost wide walken,
And knowen contrees and courtes and many kynnes places -
Bothe princes paleises and povere mennes cotes,
And Dowel and Do-yvele, wher thei dwelle bothe.'
'[Marie!]', quod the Menours, ' [amonges us he dwelleth],
And evere hath, as I hope, and evere shal herafter.'
'Contra!' quod I as a clerc, and comsed to disputen,

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Pilgrimage In Search Of Do-Well

Thus y-robed in russet . romed I aboute
Al in a somer seson . for to seke Do-wel;
And frayned full ofte . of folk that I mette
If any wight wiste . wher Do-wel was at inne;
And what man he myghte be . of many man I asked.
Was nevere wight, as I wente . that me wisse kouthe
Where this leode lenged, . lasse ne moore.
Til it bifel on a Friday . two freres I mette
Maisters of the Menours . men of grete witte.
I hailsed them hendely, . as I hadde y-lerned.
And preede them par charite, . er thei passed ferther,
If thei knew any contree . or costes as thei wente,
'Where that Do-wel dwelleth . dooth me to witene'.
For thei be men of this moolde . that moost wide walken,
And knowen contrees and courtes, . and many kynnes places,
Bothe princes paleises . and povere mennes cotes,
And Do-wel and Do-yvele . where thei dwelle bothe.
'Amonges us' quod the Menours, . 'that man is dwellynge,
And evere hath as I hope, . and evere shal herafter.'
'_Contra_', quod I as a clerc, . and comsed to disputen,

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 04

' Cesseth!' seide the Kyng, ' I suffre yow no lenger.
Ye shul saughtne, forsothe, and serve me bothe.
Kis hire,' quod the Kyng, 'Conscience, I hote!'
' Nay, by Crist!' quod Conscience, ' congeye me rather!
But Reson rede me therto, rather wol I deye.'
'And I comaunde thee,' quod the Kyng to Conseience thanne,
'Rape thee to ryde, and Reson that thow fecche.
Comaunde hym that he come my counseil to here,
For he shal rule my reaume and rede me the beste
Mede and of mo othere, what man shal hire wedde,

And acounte with thee, Conscience, so me Crist helpe,
How thow lernest the peple, the lered and the lewed!'
'I am fayn of that foreward,' seide the freke thanne,
And ryt right to Reson and rouneth in his ere,
And seide hym as the Kyng seide, and sithen took his leve.
'I shal arraye me to ryde,' quod Reson,-reste thee a while,'
And called Caton his knave, curteis of speche,
And also Tomme Trewe-tonge-tel-me-no-tales
Ne lesynge-to-laughen-of-for-I-loved-hem-nevere.

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 01

What this mountaigne bymeneth and the merke dale
And the feld ful of folk, I shal yow faire shewe.
A lovely lady of leere in lynnen yclothed
Cam doun fom [the] castel and called me faire,
And seide, 'Sone, slepestow? Sestow this peple-
How bisie they ben aboute the maze?
The mooste partie of this peple that passeth on this erthe,
Have thei worship in this world, thei wilne no bettre;
Of oother hevene than here holde thei no tale'.-
I was afeed of hire face, theigh she faire weere,
And seide, ' Mercy, madame, what [may] this [be] to mene?'

'The tour upon the toft', quod she, 'Truthe is therinne,
And wolde that ye wroughte as his word techeth.
For he is fader of feith and formed yow alle
Bothe with fel and with face and yaf yow fyve wittes
For to worshipe hym therwith while that ye ben here.
And therfore he highte the erthe to helpe yow echone
Of woilene, of lynnen, of liflode at nede
In mesurable manere to make yow at ese;

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The Vision Of Piers Plowman - Part 07

Treuthe herde telle herof, and to Piers sente
To taken his teme and tilien the erthe,
And purchaced hym a pardoun a pena et a culpa
For hym and for hyse heirs for ever oore after-

And bad hym holde hym at home and erien hise Ieyes,
And alle that holpen hym to erye, to sette or to sowe,
or any [man]er mestier that myghte Piers availe -
Pardon with Piers Plowman Truthe hath ygraunted.
Kynges and knyghtes that kepen Holy Chirche
And rightfully in remes rulen the peple,
Han pardon thorugh purgatorie to passen ful lightly,
With patriarkes and prophetes in paradis to be felawe.
Bysshopes yblessed, if thei ben as thei sholde
Legistres of bothe lawes, the lewed therwith to preche,
And in as muche as thei mowe amenden alle synfulle,
Arn peres with the Apostles - this pardon Piers sheweth -
And at the day of dome at the heighe deys to sitte.
Marchaunts in the margyne hadde manye yeres,
Ac noon A pena et a culpa the Pope nolde hem graunte.

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